Amsterdam is known for its many canals and bridges. The city centre is practically a network of canals, along which you’ll find Amsterdam’s monumental 17th-century canal houses. This historical area is referred to as “Grachtengordel” which would be best translated as “Canal Ring or Canal Belt“. The unique architecture really comes alive while viewed from the water and will leave a great impression. People often state that Amsterdam is best seen from the water. The only way of finding out whether that’s true is by going on an Amsterdam boat tour yourself! Your trip isn’t complete if you haven’t been on a canal cruise. As there is a wide variety of canal tours available with several boating companies, we’ve compiled a selection of what we believe to be the best boat tours in Amsterdam! Within this selection, we’re sure that you’ll find a cruise that suits your needs. Best of all, often there’s a discount for booking online! Also, check out our selection of Amsterdam Light Festival cruises with early bird discount!
Canal Cruise Amsterdam
Boat tours Amsterdam
What is the best boat tour in Amsterdam? There are many options! Prices of the canal cruises go from around €15,- up to €90, depending on the duration and beverages included in the tours. Are you travelling with a group, or looking for a more intimate experience? Consider booking a private canal cruise! Most boat tours in Amsterdam offer guided tours and cover the city’s main highlights and main Amsterdam’s attractions. Scroll down to see the various recommended options for a boat tour along the beautiful canals, or go directly to;
- Amsterdam Light Festival cruises
- Classic canal boat cruise; best price!
- Semi-open boat tour; best price for an open boat!
- Hop-on-Hop-Off cruise; see the city at your own pace!
- Canal bike: cycle your way through the water!
- Pancake cruise for the hungry sailors; enjoy unlimited pancakes!
- Small open boat cruise; enjoy the canals from a comfortable electric boat!
- New York Pizza cruise; combine your cruise with a pizza!
- Smoke & lounge cruise; a relaxed, marijuana-friendly cruise!
- 60-minute wine and cheese cruise; the highlights on a luxurious boat!
- Wine and Cheese evening cruise; enjoy a drink and a bite after sunset!
- Booze cruise; a great choice to get into the party mood, drinks included!
- 2-hour evening dinner cruise including drinks and a three-course meal!
- Luxury dinner cruise; 3-hour top-of-the-bill cruise including 3-course dinner!
- Private historical canal cruise: enjoy a 100-year-old boat!
You can’t leave Amsterdam without going on a canal cruise, as Amsterdam is best seen from the water!
Amsterdam Light Festival 2023-2024
Amsterdam Light Festival is an annual event, held in the dark winter months of December and January. During this event artists from around the world are invited to design illuminated artworks that are being exhibited in the typical Amsterdam landscape, more specifically, in and around the canals. The best way to see these artworks is during a canal cruise along the artworks offered by several different boating companies. The 12th 2023-2024 edition of the Amsterdam Light Festival will be held from November the 30th 2023 till January the 21st 2024. We’ve made a selection of our favourite Amsterdam Light Festival cruises, here. If you’re visiting Amsterdam during this time, it’s definitely worth considering a canal cruise to go and see the festival!
Classical canal cruise daytime trip – 1 hour
The classical canal boat tour is always a good choice! These comfortable canal boats with glass ceilings and windows give you the opportunity to view the architectural highlights Amsterdam has to offer. In fall and winter, these boats provide you with cover against the weather so you can enjoy the city without feeling cold or getting wet.
There are canal cruises offered both day and night time. Which one is the best canal tour for you is up to you to decide. Obviously, during the day you’ll see more and have better opportunities to take good pictures. However, if you are visiting Amsterdam with the love of your life, there’s nothing as romantic as cruising the canals at night! One of the best-known boating companies in Amsterdam is Lovers Canal Cruises. The boats depart from multiple locations throughout the city, they depart regularly every 20 to 30 minutes. The route goes along all the highlights that Amsterdam has to offer. There are audio guides available in over 18 different languages. Purchasing tickets for your Amsterdam canal tour online will save you a couple of bucks and waiting in the queue.
Semi-open boat tour (cheapest open boat option) – 1 hour
Enjoy an Amsterdam canal cruise from an electric, solar-powered vessel. On these pollution-free canal boats, you’ll get to enjoy the city comfortably in silence, or as you wish with an audio guide available in several languages. On sunny days, the boat tops will be removed, so that you can freely enjoy the sights of Amsterdam. Therefore these cruises are also a perfect match when you want to take home some magnificent pictures. However, if the weather turns out to be a bit more Dutch than expected, a dry comfortable place is also guaranteed. The semi-open boats depart from the centrally located Raamsdonksteiger, a two-minute walk from Amsterdam Central Station.
Hop-on-Hop-off cruise – over 1,5 hour tour during 24 hours
The Hop-on-Hop-off boat tour is the most flexible canal cruise in Amsterdam one can find. It allows you to see the city at your own pace. The boat tour takes you on a ride throughout the city. The canal boat stops at 7 different stops and you can get off at any point of choice. Among the seven stops, you’ll find Amsterdam Central Station, Rijksmuseum, the Albert Cuyp market, Anne Frank House, Gassan Diamonds and the Hermitage Museum. Feel free to get off at any point you like. Your ticket is valid for a full 24 hours between 9:15 and 19:00 and there are boats stopping every 25 minutes or so. In between the stops you’ll have plenty of time to visit one of the museums or do some shopping. When you’re ready to go back to finish the cruise no reservation is required, just hop on and hop off as much as you like. If you book your 24-hour ticket online you’ll be rewarded with €2,50 discount for each ticket and do not forget to use our discount.
The Hop on-Hop off cruises can also be booked for 48 hours and can be combined with a bus tour. Visit the following page on all available hop on hop off tours for more information and prices.
Rent a pedal boat
Looking for some playful fun out on the Amsterdam canals? Don’t miss out on the canal bike rentals! Become the captain of your very own pedal boat and cycle your way through the water. The canal bikes are a really cool way to cruise the canals of Amsterdam. This is also a fun thing to do with kids in Amsterdam. Do keep in mind that you won’t see as much of the city as with any sort of boat as it does take a lot of energy to keep the bike moving on the water. The canal bikes will offer you a good workout though and a great time. Especially when it is sunny outside.
Dutch pancake cruise – 75 minutes
Are you looking for a strong traditional Dutch meal including an Amsterdam boat tour? Look no further! “De Pannenkoekenboot” or pancake boat is the best Amsterdam canal tour for you! The boat tour will take you on a cruise over the IJ River, while you can enjoy an all-you-can-eat traditional Dutch dish. The Dutch pancakes are served with toppings of choice, including syrup, fruit, chocolate, and marmalade, as well as savoury toppings such as bacon, Dutch cheese, and more! The boat departs from the Northern part of Amsterdam, which can easily be reached by the free ferry (NDSM F4) departing every 30 minutes from Amsterdam Central Station. The all-you-can-eat concept is a strongly recommended feast for both adults and kids! Half way the cruise, there will be a special surprise for the kids, as the hatch of the hidden ball pit opens and they can slide right in to have some fun! However, please bear in mind that, due to the size of this ship, you won’t be able to sail the iconic Amsterdam canals and do an iconic Amsterdam canal tour.
Small open boat cruise – 1 hour
Would you like to cruise in a comfortable open boat? This canal cruise is the right one for you! In these small electric vessels, you’ll be able to sit back, relax and enjoy some of the most amazing views of the historic city centre of Amsterdam. Thanks to the electric propulsion, there’s no noise and no pollution. During the cruise, you’ll pass some of the most iconic sights in Amsterdam, including the Magere Brug (Skinny Bridge) and the Amstel Hotel. The local captain is accompanied by a host who’ll make sure you won’t get thirsty during the cruise. A variety of drinks and snacks can be purchased during the cruise (not included in the price). These boat cruises can be booked from two departure points in the city centre; Amsterdam Central Station and the Anne Frank House.
New York Pizza canal cruise – 1.5 hour
If you would like to do a canal cruise in the evening, but the dinner cruise is a bit over your budget, the pizza cruise is a perfect alternative. During this 90 minute cruise, you’ll be covering both the historical and newer parts of the city whilst enjoying a pizza of choice with a beer or a soda. The beverages are included in the price, so you’ll save money that you don’t have to spend on dinner and you can tick off a must-do in Amsterdam! Enjoy a boat tour in Amsterdam while eating pizza. Do we need to say more?
Smoke & lounge boat tour – 1 hour
Amsterdam is widely known for the legalisation of marihuana, which you can buy at one of the many coffeeshops in Amsterdam. This boat trip is for those that want to enjoy the pleasure of smoking some on the water. During this 1-hour canal cruise, you’ll be able to watch Amsterdam drift by while enjoying your smoke. However, make sure to bring your own, as marijuana can only be sold at coffeeshops and not aboard the boat. Since smoking pot can make you thirsty, the cruise includes two drinks of choice. Expect a relaxed boat tour with some like-minded people and some relaxing music. Please note; this boat is not a party boat and doesn’t allow intoxicated people aboard.
Wine & Cheese canal cruise – 1 hour
This 60-minute cruise on a luxurious, modern ship departs regularly from the Anne Frank House. In 60 minutes’ time, you’ll get to see some of the most iconic parts of Amsterdam, including the Skinny Bridge, the Red Light District and the Maritime Museum. This cruise can be booked either with or without bites and beverages. For a little extra, you can enjoy drinks of choice and some nice Dutch Cheese. The friendly hosts will welcome you aboard the boat and pour you a drink of choice once the boat sets sail. During the comfortable ride on the Amsterdam canals the hosts can tell you all about the sights and surroundings.
Wine & Cheese evening boat cruise – 1.5 hour
During this 90-minute boat tour in Amsterdam, you’ll get to see the Dutch capital from the water after sunset. You’ll get to sail through Amsterdam’s romantic canal belt while enjoying a drink and a bite. Departing from a location near Amsterdam Central Station, the cruise will take you on some of Amsterdam’s finest UNESCO World Heritage-listed waterways with romantically illuminated bridges. Included in the cruise is a wine of choice; white, red or rose and mineral water. The wine will be accompanied by some tasty bites; a variety of local Dutch cheeses, grapes, bread and figs. A great way of exploring Amsterdam, while enjoying quality time with your loved ones.
Open booze canal cruise – 90 minutes including drinks
Are you looking for a cruise with a bit more excitement than the average, dull, canal cruise? Starboard Boats has got you covered. Their evening booze cruise in a small open boat is tailored for people looking for interaction with other travellers, who are looking to have a good time! During the 90-minute booze cruise, the cold beverages are waiting for you and are all included in the price. The luxury boats are fitted with comfy cushions and a toilet. The open boats give you the chance to shoot some of the most magnificent pictures of Amsterdam, while a cover will protect you in case of rain.
- A 90-minute cruise in a comfortable, open boat
- Free drinks during the cruise
- Ship fitted with a toilet
- Centrally located pick up (5 minutes from Amsterdam Central Station)
Dinner cruise on a classic canal boat – 2 hours
If you’re looking to do an Amsterdam canal cruise in the evening, combined with a tasty three-course meal, check out this dinner cruise on a classical canal boat! Departing at 19:30 from Amsterdam Central Station, you’ll get to enjoy some amazing views of Amsterdam at sunset. Once you have boarded the boat, you’ll be served freshly baked bread and soup for a starter. The main dish can be chosen upon reservation and includes a vegetarian, fish and meat option. Drinks are already included in the price, you can choose between multiple wines, beers or sodas of choice as well as a bottle of sparkling or still water for each table. To top it all off, a sweet dessert will be served to all. All in all a perfect cruise for anyone looking to combine an evening cruise on the romantic Amsterdam waterways with a decent meal!
Luxury Dinner Cruise with 3-course fine dining experience – 3 hours
If you’re looking to take your Amsterdam canal tour to the next level, we highly recommend checking out this luxury dinner cruise by Amsterdam Boats. Step aboard one of the high-end saloon boats and prepare for a 3-hour boat trip on the blissful Amsterdam canals, recognized as UNESCO World Heritage. This boat tour takes you along some of the finest historic Amsterdam canals, while you sit back and enjoy an à la carte 3-course dinner, with your loved ones. You’re desired courses will be freshly cooked in an acclaimed riverside restaurant and can be paired with some beautiful wines. The welcoming crew of Amsterdam Boats will do anything to ensure that you’ll have a wonderful fine dining experience on the Amsterdam canals. Any specific dietary wishes can be met, by indicating them on the reservation. The high-end ships can provide you with a comfortable experience with any type of weather; they are fitted with heating, but can also open the roof if the weather allows it. It is also possible to enjoy the views from the open deck in the back! This canal tour by Amsterdam Boats departs from a central location, near the Amsterdam City Hall.
Due to high demand, this cruise is now also available as a 3-hour luxury lunch cruise!
Private historical canal cruise on a 100-year-old boat – 1.5 hour
Do you want to relax, eat and drink on board a 100-year-old traditional Dutch boat while listening to all kinds of stories about Rembrandt? Do you want to discover the Amsterdam canals in privacy and learn something about her history? Book this private tour from skipper Rock That Boat. This private boat tour includes drinks like wine, beer, tea or coffee and has room for ten passengers. So this tour is perfect for a small group of friends or a family. The duration of this private Amsterdam boat tour is 1,5 hours and reservations are a must, as availability is limited.
Boat Tour Amsterdam FAQ
Should I do a canal cruise in Amsterdam?
The answer is yes! Amsterdam is well known for its historical canals. Going on a boat trip allows you to explore en feel part of the city. As you cruise the canals you will see a lot of Amsterdam’s highlights. We even dare to state that your trip isn’t complete if you haven’t been on a canal cruise. It is part of the Amsterdam journey.
How long is a canal cruise in Amsterdam?
The duration of a boat trip through Amsterdam depends on the one you choose. The duration of a boat trip differs from 60 minutes up to 90 minutes or more. If you are happy to go on a classical cruise, you will be cruising the water for one hour. Fancy a dinner and a drink and watch the sunset? The duration of the canal tour is 3 hours.
What’s the price for a canal cruise in Amsterdam?
How much is a canal tour in Amsterdam, it is a question often asked. As there are many canal cruises in Amsterdam, it is hard to give you just one price. Prices of the canal cruises go from around €15,- up to €90,- or more, depending on the duration of the boat tour and beverages included in the boat tours.
Which canal cruise to take in Amsterdam?
We advise you to take a look at the many different canal cruises Amsterdam has to offer. Ask yourself the following questions for example: would I like to have a good view in broad daylight or would I prefer a more romantic cruise in the evening? How long do I want to be on the water? Would I just want to see the city or maybe also enjoy some bites or even dinner on the water? Do you want to share a canal boat and meet new people or do you just want to be with your loved ones? Take a look at your personal preferences and budget and choose the canal cruise that fits you most.
What is the best canal cruise in Amsterdam?
There is no such thing as the best canal cruise in Amsterdam. There are so many options and it all depends on your personal preference and budget. We do advise you to go on a canal cruise if you have the chance. A canal cruise in Amsterdam the perfect way to explore and feel part of the most beautifull part of the city!
Combitickets and discounted canal cruises
Obviously, the canal cruises are a big thing in Amsterdam. But as Amsterdam is expensive already, the price of canal tours in Amsterdam can be expensive for some. So for those who are looking for a cheap canal cruise check out the complete list of canal cruises and available discounts below. The best discounts and cheap canal cruises are often found in a combination ticket with a museum or excursion included. Choose wisely and have the best canal cruise Amsterdam price!
|Cruise / tour||Price||Discount|
|Classic canal cruise: Leidsekade||€ 14,40||€ 4,60|
|Hop-on-Hop-off bus & boat 24h||€ 24,75||€ 5,25|
|Rijksmuseum & canal cruise||€ 35,-||€ 5,-|
|Xtracold Ice bar + canal cruise||€ 27,90||€ 14,05|
Tours & Tickets
Sail a small boat yourself
Do you want to be completely free and decide yourself which canals to cruise, have a picnic, drink or stay on the canals for hours? Then there’s the option to hire a small electric boat and sail it yourself. This might very well be the coolest way to explore the waterways of Amsterdam! Especially when you’re with a group of people renting a boat in Amsterdam is a fun and cheap alternative for canal cruises with a classical canal boat. There are multiple companies that rent out small electric boats that you can sail yourself. They are easy to sail and the electric propulsion provides a smooth, comfortable cruise over the Amsterdam canals. So put your captain hat on and start your own adventure. An electric rental boat will cost you somewhere around €30,- per hour. A boat carries up to 6 people so that’s only €5,- per person when fully loaded. Sounds like a heck of a deal as a cheap canal tour!